On the Untimely Demise of My Hair

In days gone by when life for me looked bright,
And I rejoiced in the clear dawn of youth,
My hair filled my soul with such sweet delight
That soon my locks became my only truth.
Time hurried past as fast as a spring day,
And still I adored my elegant mane,
Until one night, to my utter dismay,
I saw my hairs clogging the shower drain.
Alarmed, I prayed: “Dear Lord, please save my mop
And I’ll atone for my arrogant years.”
Alas, my hair’s retreat refused to stop,
In spite of the use of Rogaine and tears.
And now here I sit, as bald as a pear,
Writing a sonnet on losing my hair.




If this is not a word you know,
You’ll wish you learned it long ago.
Pronounce it just like “PET try core.”
The roots of it will likely bore—
“Petra” refers to rocks or stones,
Our planet’s primordial bones.
“Ichor” stands for sacred blood
In the veins of a Grecian god.
The word’s meaning is more mundane:
It’s the smell of dry earth after rain;
The exhalation from the ground
Of a fragrance profound;
A blend of water, sage, and dust,
An intoxicating, holy must,
The perfume of sacred wine
From a cellarage divine.



Never Trust a Poem That Rhymes

Never trust a poem that rhymes.
It pleases only average minds.
Rhyme is too much. It’s too romantic.
Near rhyme is just as problematic.
It rots your teeth, like candy or cake;
Tacky, commercial, a rookie mistake.
Poets should be sophisticated,
Cynical, sad, and constipated.
Post-modern poems must be dreary,
Sinister, sterile, and world-weary.
Difficult meter or opaque free verse;
Similes used like perfume in a hearse.
Curse words are a necessary evil.
Politics geared toward social upheaval.
lower case, naturally.
Punctuate infrequently
And this can’t be stressed too many times—
Never trust a poem that rhymes!



Rob Crisell is a writer, actor, teacher, and attorney in Temecula. After two decades in publishing, national non-profit work, law, and commercial real estate, he’s now a full-time writer, actor, and educator. He is an outside instructor with the Murrieta Valley Union School District where he teaches poetry and Shakespeare. He also teaches at St. Jeanne de Lestonnac School and other area schools on behalf of Shakespeare in the Vines (SITV). He runs SITV’s annual high school monologue competition, which he began in 2013. Currently, he is playing Iago in SITV’s August production of Othello. He’s the author/actor of Red, White & Bard! A Celebration of Shakespeare in America and Hamlet’s Guide to Happiness: 7 Life Lessons from the Greatest Play Ever Written, one-man shows he has performed for SITV, schools, and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. He’s a graduate of Yale University and George Mason University Law School. He lives in Temecula with his wife and their two children.

NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets.

The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or commentary.

CODEC Stories:

12 Responses

  1. Leo Zoutewelle

    “Similes used like perfume in a hearse” did it for me, bro!
    Too bad you’re from Yale though 🙂 . But thanks.

      • Leo Zoutewelle

        I wish! No, no I was just UVA. I really liked your verses, but I thought, you write humorously, I kid you some in the comment.
        Cheers, all the best!

  2. C.B. Anderson

    Well, Rob, the first poem, as risible as it was, starts out with a pure iambic line, but then you inserted anapests (or something), which resulted in a metrical muddle. Most readers don’t mind this (to their detriment), but close readers will notice it right away.

    In the second poem, the first four lines are fairly metrical, but after that the cadence is insane. The worst line might be: Of a fragrance profound. What the hell is that supposed to mean? A deep stink?

    In the third poem, after the initial couplet (which is badly rhymed), the piece devolves into metrical chaos, where it seems to be the intention of the author to hold the reader’s attention by the insertion of accurate end rhymes.

    The themes of these poems were on point, but the execution was incompetent.

    • Rob Crisell

      Thank you for your thoughts. I can see these poems annoyed you. Sometimes I tend to use the iambic as a suggestion, not a straitjacket. The results can be “metrical chaos,” I suppose. Though in fairness–and to quote my favorite poet–the “bug which you would fright me with I seek.” For me, the monotony of strict blank verse begins to bore me, but I will strive to mend.

      • Mark F. Stone

        Rob, Like C.B., I also had concerns about the meter in the poems. However, I saw in your YouTube video (posted earlier on this website) that you have a lot of talent in expressing yourself. And I see in these poems that you do have a way with words and a great sense of humor. So I would urge you to keep submitting your poems. I think that, with polished meter, they will shine brightly. Mark

  3. C.B. Anderson

    But, Rob, please notice that the quote from your “favorite poet” was perfectly iambic. And if strict blank verse bores you (though I thought we were speaking of rhymed verse), then you might want to consider writing and reading “free verse,” exclusively, where the only rule is misrule.

  4. Douglass Allen

    Rob, Love your three poems, especially the concluding couplet in your Shakespearean sonnet! Not sure I recommend the polished meter overhaul. You capture a lot of what I find faddish and fetish in post-modern lit.
    Douglass Allen


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Captcha loading...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.